NewsMonitor: Ages 4to18 Toys

NewsMonitor: Ages 4to18 Toys

Toys “R” Us Buys Imaginarium Names CEO

With the acquisition of Imaginarium Toy Centers, Inc., a Saddle Brook, N.J.-based specialty toy retailer with 41 stores, Toys “R” Us acknowledges the benefits of the educational and specialty toy market. That market is seeing 10-15% annual growth.

The acquisition also expands the retailer’s e-commerce space, by linking with www. On Monday, John Barbour was named CEO of Barbour is president and CEO of OddzOn, a novelty toy specialist, and sector head of the Satellite Business Group at Hasbro.

Within the acquisition, Imaginarium CEO Tom Lynn and president and chief marketing/merchandising officer Julie Lynn will move with the company. (Rebecca Caruso, 201/599-8090)


Tween Zine Launched

Fairchild Publications debuted Tween Business, a spinoff of Children’s Business, on Monday, reports sister publication PR News Media HotSheet. The first-time specialty publication focuses on products and trends for kids 8 to 12 in the clothes, accessories and footwear manufacturing industries. The second issue of this biannual publication will come out in February. Children’s Business targets the broader 0-12 age range. (Tracy Mitchell, 212/630-4515)

Teen Zine Launched

Primedia, publisher of ten teen-oriented magazines including Seventeen and Teen Beat, launched Entertain-menteen magazine last week. Described as “Seventeen on training wheels,” the new tabloid targets ages 12 to 15.

“Entertainmenteen is a hybrid of the entertainment magazines and service magazines directed at teens,” says editor-in-chief Hedy End.

The premier issue features Justin Timberlake of teen band ‘Nsync, “101 Wild Things To Do This Summer” and photos of Britney Spears shopping for tour clothes.

The premier issue printed 800,000 copies to be distributed at 150,000 locations nationwide.

The next issue will publish in October. The magazine’s ongoing publishing cycle is yet to be determined, but a monthly frequency seems likely.

End is also editor-in-chief of SuperTeen and 16 Superstars. (Hedy End, Primedia, 212/545-3600)


Two Summer Report Cards

“Wild Wild West” opened last month to plenty of hype. Here’s how it’s doing: “I was just saying to my colleague that it’s the summer where even the worst movies do well,” says Andrew Hindes, film editor, Variety and Daily Variety. So far, he says, the movie has done “more than $100 million, which is respectable.” The soundtrack also did well. He predicts the movie will end its domestic run at $115 million to $120 million.

But, Hindes says, the movie may be a problem from the studio’s point of view because it was “fabulously expensive” to make. What’s more, he says, the results compare unfavorably with other Will Smith movies released on July 4th, including 1997’s Men in Black, which grossed $250.7 million, and 1996’s Independence Day, which grossed $306.2 million.

About that other summer movie: “It’s hard to find fault” with Star Wars, which is the second film, following Titanic, to break the $400 million barrier, says Hindes. Episode 1’s performance also eclipses the three other Star Wars films, which together have a lifetime gross of $461 million.

“Sure, the expectations were unrealistic” but, he says, most industry experts agree that if a movie does at least $400 million, “it qualifies as a cultural phenomenon.” (Andrew Hindes, Variety and Daily Variety, 323/965-4424)


Go Back to School, at S2KU

Selling to Kids University, featuring strategies for marketing to kids ages 2-12, will be held Monday, November 15, at Georgetown University Conference Center in Washington, D.C. To get a brochure, call 301/340-7788, ext. 2322 or email


Kanga Roddy Boss Hired

American Champion Marketing Group, a newly created subsidiary of American Champion Entertainment, has named Joy Tashjian president and CEO. She’ll direct the worldwide licensing, merchandising and marketing of all Adventures with Kanga Roddy intellectual properties.

Previously, Tashjian was the president of DIC Entertainment, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, working with Madeline, Sailor Moon, Inspector Gadget and World Wrestling Federation. (Lisa Lyons, Pryor & Assoc., 818/382-2233)



The chart in with the “Kids & TV” story (S2K, 7/21, p. 2) was incorrect. Here are the correct ratings for February. (Thanks to Romney Vinson of Lyrick Studios for pointing it out.)

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